“Cherry! Cher-ry! Come Quick! It’s here!”
A sparkling, dark-haired girl suddenly popped out on the upstairs landing and hung over the staircase. Her cheeks were as red as her sweater and her black eyes shone with excitement. She took one look at her mother, gingerly holding up an envelope; another at her young friend Midge, hopping up and down with a strange lack of dignity for a fifteen-year-old.
That’s — it!” Midge cried. “Hurry up!”
Cherry swooped down the stairs and seized the official-looking envelope.
“What does it say?” Midge begged. Mrs. Ames, too, was trying to glimpse the letter over Cherry’s shoulder.
“Here,” Cherry said, absorbed, and allowed Midge to hold the empty envelope.
Midge read aloud the address in the left-hand corner with awe in her voice, “‘War Department, Official Business.’ Jiminy!”
“What does it say?” Mrs. Ames echoed Midge. She was a small, youthful, brown-eyed woman.
Cherry looked up and grinned. “This is what I’ve been waiting for every day of this two weeks’ vacation! Harumph! You will please stand at attention while I read it to you.” Cherry herself stood erect and read earnestly:
“By direction of the President, Cherry Ames is with her consent ordered to active duty with the Army of the United States, and assigned to the hospital unit as indicated…” On graduating, Cherry had signed up with her whole nursing class to serve in the Army Nurse Corps. She already had indicated that she was available immediately and willing to serve overseas, and had sent her photo, application, school record and State Board Examination record. Cherry took a deep breath and hurried on, “…and will proceed on 21 September this year to station specified for temporary duty pending activation Spencer Gen. unit.”
There was another notice, too. “You are ordered to report to the Service Command at Wabash City…for Army physical examination!” … “Oh, gosh!” exclaimed Cherry.
“You have to weigh at least a hundred pounds and a lot of other things,” Midge warned her.
“She’ll pass,” Mrs. Ames said, smiling at Cherry, “even the Army’s rigid examination.” Cherry’s red cheeks and lips, her shining dark eyes, her eager, lively, pretty face, even her dancing black curls, fairly radiated vitality. She sparkled with youth and high spirits.
Cherry Ames, Army Nurse
by Helen Wells (1944)